Sunday, December 21, 2008

Move Over Brain Age, Grandpa Wants an EndWar for Christmas

Still wondering what to get grandpa for Christmas? How about Rise of Nations or Halo Wars?

A new study from the Psychology and Aging journal (courtesy Reuters) found that
"40 adults in their 60s and 70s...who learned to play a strategy-heavy video game improved their scores on a number of tests of cognitive function."
The group was split into a gaming and non-gaming control group. The gaming group spent 23 hours over the course of a month playing Rise of Nations. One of my favorite details about this article is that they refer to Rise of Nations as an "off-the-shelf" video game. That sounds suspiciously like over-the-counter, which in turn implies that there are prescription video games out there. Maybe if this study holds up over multiple trials that will actually come true. I can't wait 'til I'm 65 and my Medicaid covers Halo 24.

The article ends sweetly, too, with Dr. Arthur F. Kramer of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign saying, "Playing video games with their grandkids would also be a great idea...because we know that social interactions -- along with physical exercise and intellectual challenge -- also enhance the cognitive abilities of older adults."

Basically, there's no better way to keep the mind sharp than beating little Billy at Age of Empires.